Every year Thailand celebrates Loi Krathong, a festival where small floating baskets, called Krathongs, are floated on the rivers as a way of making wishes.
My daughter was invited to hang out with friends at the festival, so after she met up with her friends I spent the evening wandering the streets with a friend to take photos. I’ve lived here in Chiang Mai for two years now and this was the first time I have ever observed the Loi Krathong part of the festival. As we walked I realized it is a family event where families get together to launch their small Krathongs on the rivers or in the moat that surrounds the old city here in Chiang Mai.
It’s a time for family to get together and celebrate. I had always associated this festival with another part of the festival the Yi Peng Festival where paper lanterns are launched into the sky like miniature hot air baloons, but this year I realized that these two activities represent two different traditions. This year I really enjoyed seeing the focus on family and being together. As a tourist or foreigner, it is easy to see these festivals as one and focus on the beauty of the lanterns in the night sky and miss the real humanity and meaning of the festival.
Before the Krathongs can be launched, incense is lit and prayers are offered.
Thousands of small candles are lit all around the city during the festival as well.